The NFL draft can be a crapshoot. The league’s history is littered with sure-fire, top-five draft picks who bombed, such as JaMarcus Russell, Tony Mandarich and Ryan Leaf.
So, when a team such as the 49ers has a shot at the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, it needs to get the pick right for the future of the franchise.
Nobody will know for certain what kind of player defensive end Nick Bosa is for several weeks or months. It often takes time for a player to adjust and adapt to a higher level of play.
But, based on his first couple of weeks in training camp, Bosa appears to be on the right track.
The former Ohio State standout has fared well in one-on-one drills with starting offensive tackles Joe Staley (a multiple Pro Bowler) and Mike McGlinchey, and Bosa’s teammates and coaches have been impressed by his talent and drive.
"He’s getting better," said defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. "It’s great competition for him to be able to against Joe and McGlinchey every day. At the same time, good for those guys, because he’s kind of unique in his pass-rush set and then how he operates. It’s good for him. He’s got to continue to evolve and keep his foot on the pedal and keep rolling."
Saleh said Bosa has been winning some of those battles – but not all of them.
Defensive lineman Ronald Blair told the San Francisco Chronicle that Bosa has been terrific. So did cornerback K’Waun Williams, noting "he’s been great out there every day."
Bosa was bothered by a hamstring injury that kept him off the field for part of spring team workouts, but now looks healthy and fit. His work to improve his speed, explosion and flexibility this offseason appears to have paid off. In training camp, he’s doing what the 49ers hoped: He’s rushing the passer and making big plays.
Said GM John Lynch recently to the NFL Network: "I think 'impact' is the right work, and he’s been consistently doing that since he’s been here. And it keeps getting better. That’s encouraging. He’s a really good football player and he’s polished. A lot of guys, even if you pick them at two, there’s a getting-used-to period, but he’s such a polished football player. He’s giving them (veterans) fits already.
"It’s fun to see a guy like Joe Staley really take to him, and they’ve been working together. Joe’s learning from him, he’s learning from Joe, McGlinchey. It’s making everybody better."